rhia reviews: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It’s not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al’Hiza must call it ‘home’.

Amani wants to escape and see the world she’s heard about in campfire stories.

Then a foreigner with no name tu26047310rns up, and with him she has the chance to run.

But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan’s army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion…

An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.

My Goodreads rating: ★★★★

A friend of mind read this before I did and told me she didn’t enjoy it because it’s too similar to THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, by Renee Ahdieh. While I can see what she meant in some regards – especially with setting – I mostly disagree on this one.

The story starts with young Amani entering a shooting contest in her desert hometown, against some locals in varying stages of drunkenness, and one mysterious stranger, and the action unfolds from there. REBEL OF THE SANDS is only a short book, so there’s a lot of action packed into those 358 pages.

I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving away anything important – so much happens in this book it’s hard to talk about without spoiling something. There is an element of romance but I like the way it’s handled. It’s not insta-love and the challenges the two characters face in getting to know and trust each other are realistic – as much as they can be in a fantasy novel anyway.

Seriously, if you’re a fan of action-packed YA, in a beautiful fantasy setting, pick this up.

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